God’s mission of empowerment

Posted: June 23, 2012 by J in Mission, Theology

From what we’ve seen, God is in the business of making humans strong. He is rescuing humans from their enslavement to sin and death, and renewing them in life and strength through Jesus’ powerful resurrection. We come to share in Jesus’ newly empowered, Spirit-filled humanity. We were weak and powerless, helpless pawns doing the will of the evil one. We become strong and firm, remade in God’s image, able to stand confident against the devil and choose the good. We were sick and dying, now we are being renewed daily in God’s life.

From our total failure, God makes us become ‘more than conquerors’ . From being sub-human, dysfunctional, he re-humanises us, so we are able to function as he intends. Able to worship God; able to love and serve our fellow creatures.

This is God’s mission of redemption to his world. And he carries out this mission through Jesus. This was the work Jesus came to do. In so many ways, Jesus made people strong. He healed the sick. He freed those captured by demons. He cured those enslaved by greed. He empowered to dumb to speak and the blind to see. The dead he raised to life. His weak disciples he ‘clothed with power from on high’.

And his disciples did the same. They too were in the business of making people strong. Jesus had instructed them, “Cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” Typical is Peter’s healing of the lame man, whose ankles were made strong so that he could walk and leap and praise God. Peter attributed that healing to ‘the name of Jesus’ i.e. it was Jesus’ power that did it. And he pointed to those strengthened ankles as a picture of the larger work of salvation God was doing in his world, bringing release from sins, and times of refreshing to the creation. Not only this man, but ‘all things’ were to be restored to strength and health through Jesus (Acts 3:21). The ankles made strong was a sign that the kingdom had come near.

In other words, in the ministry of Jesus and his apostles, the empowering of weak people is a key mission activity. As people are strengthened and freed to function with dignity as humans, Jesus is honoured and God’s kingdom is demonstrated.

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